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  CSPAN    Today in Washington    News/Business. News.  

    January 29, 2013
    6:00 - 9:00am EST  

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>> and then he talks about the importance of research, and we have funded many people who are doing very important research to help make the case, if you will. then he talks about read description. so because we engage in multiple perspectives, native americans,
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african-americans, asian americans, latinos, hispanics, whites americans, we get these multiple points of view and we're able to read described if you will this continuum, this history. you can no longer deny that it exists. and then gardner talks about, you must be able to anticipate resistance and in case of racial dynamics, resistance for, and it takes many different forms and so you have to be really quick and be able to respond to resistance as. he also talks a real world events t can make a major impact in bring about changes in mind and thinking. we look at what happened in the tragic death of the students in connecticut, the children, and how suddenly guns are at least a public topic. we look at the election of an african-american first family, and many minds were changed on
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some level. on levels of people don't even understand. so real world events are important in being able to change hearts and minds, but you have to be organized to respond to those real-world events. and many times advocacy communities are not. and then gardner reminds us that rewards and resources can change minds. and that's where philanthropy can be a partner. that's where the private sector could be a partner. that's where the public sector could and -- could invest in this work. because when the resources are there, when the incentives are there, attitudes and behavior. but ultimately gardner talks about residents.
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most of what i've described in gardner's list appeal to the rational, to the cognitive aspect of our being. but the resonance appeals to the motion. because ultimately it is our feelings that dictate our behavior. there's a call for more empathy. i like to say we need more empathetic action. we have found and have learned that when people are brought together and they share their stories of the experience of racism in america, it creates a resonance, and that residents creates an emotional space. for relating across differences and understanding our collective humanity. so i would ask you not to think of this work as a threat, as so many people do, not to embrace
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the idea of undoing racism from a place of fear, but rather to agree at multiple levels that this is indeed as our president once said so courageously, that this is indeed the unfinished business of our times. and we can, in fact, we must rise to the challenge and become one america. mature, developed, having evolves beyond the absurdity of the belief in racial hierarchy. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much, gail. and thank you to the entire panel. this has been fantastic. let me say one thing before we go into some discussion here
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about this issue the "washington monthly," and the task we set for ourselves. as this panel has brilliantly articulated, we have this gap in our understanding of our own history, a kind of flaw as taylor told me recently in our historic memory. and in covering from time to time over many years these issues, it occurred to me i don't really -- we see in equities and disparities among minorities, and we have our sense that they are somehow rooted in historic experience. but the causal connections are hard to understand. so one of the stories we did in this issue, we asked the great economist and scholar, thomas
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subaru, to answer the simple question, how is it that middle-class african-american have a fraction of the household wealth that white americans at the same income level have, explained that. so he wrote this magnificent piece, looking at his own family, which he grew up in detroit at a young age, his father and mother sold their house to african-american family, and then tom's family moved to the suburbs. each faced ghost -- both families, both were middle-class composed of maintain homes beautifully and added to them. one, 50 years later, has a modest amount of wealth on which they can retire. the other, despite adding to this house and buying another one and doing everything, this other family that bought their house has very, very little wealth. and since the recession we know
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that although all americans took a hit in their wealth, they hit as a percentage of income for african-americans and hispanics was far greater. so tom traces of this. the question some might ask is well, to african-americans not save as white americans? now, the answer is. they save at about the same rate. to get to the end you have to look at history. in the '40s and '50s and early '60s, as white americans were writing the escalator of upward mobility, thanks to booming economy and federal support for homeownership and college education, african-americans were still living in a segregated world in which they were largely denied virtually all of these benefits. that only changed beginning in
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the late '60s after the passage of civil rights and other laws come and really into the early '70s before mortgages and so forth became available. so african-americans began putting their first foot on the escalator at the very earliest in the late '60s, after 30 years of whites moving from a te lower middle class to the middle class and beyond am only fended african-americans begin. and it was about that time that the escalator begin to get kind of creaky. and wages begin to stagnate and unique jobs and manufacturing began to disappear. and african-americans are buying homes in precisely the communities, the inner cities, that are being abandoned by everybody else. so what you see is not that happens, but past racism and bad timing that explains this profound difference. and just so they can't see the outcome. you can't explain the outcomes
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without references. and really that's the theme in many ways of this issue of the "washington monthly," to peel back the hidden truths of our history so that we can understand our present situation. the other thing that i think this issue tries to do is to look at, as gail says, look at solutions. what are some solutions to these in equities? in the case of wealth, really the thing that has in recent years, and that explains the plummeting value of african-american, hispanic wealth compared to white welcome in the whites lost also, is predatory lending. this huge expansion of predatory lending in the form of payday loans and be exploding mortgages, subprime mortgages, which it african-american upper middle class people far higher than whites.
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so the best thing we can do to make housing, which is the essence of most people's wealth, safe again for minority's is to crack down on predatory lending, to allow, for instance, the new agency that comes out of the dodd-frank law, the cfpb, to allow to do its job. and oh, by the way, if we allow the federal government to police these predatory, damaging financial instruments, we as a team unity, entire country, benefits because we won't have a repeat of this horrible recession that whites everybody's wealth out, and wiped jobs out for our kids out. so at a moment when the things that we can do that would profoundly benefit minorities in this country, are also profoundly beneficial to majorities in this country. and that's a point i hope people take away from this issue of the "washington monthly." so let me begin the questioning
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first among ourselves and then we will open it to the audience. i know you all are very eager to ask questions or so. i want to begin by just asking doug blackmon, i want to hear just a little bit more specifically about the phenomenon that you describe in your store in the monthly and in your future prize-winning book, tell us a story, if you will, so the audience understands about this 20th century enslavement, and what it was like and how, what with the following consequences, why ultimately is this still something that we should know about. >> sure, i'm happy to do. before i do i also want to make an observation about the remarks the other panels, which i found very compelling, but through a very interesting thread of this notion of misunderstanding and
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labels, labels not just in terms of racial labels but labels in our history and the over supplications of history that we are all indoctrinated with, oftentimes more out of the need to sympathize our story and try to teach our story in simple ways, perhaps than by conspiracy but sometimes by conspiracy that we mislabeled and misunderstandings. but to all this i think i was particularly struck by professor anderson's discussion of the evolution and the migration of these definitions of prejudice, but also with taylor branch. i can't tell you what a privilege and an honor it is to sit in the same room, much less at the same table with taylor branch, a historian. but the optimism that i think he brings to this conversation, which i urge my students and people i talked about this, the same sort of idea that it's very easy to feel very dispirited
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about these things. but in reality, i think it's an incredibly optimistic time and that even with all of the disparities that persist and the difficulties that remain, the setbacks that have occurred, we are in an amazingly optimistic and opportunistic moment in time. and, in fact, the progress on all of these fronts has been extraordinary, and in terms of, i point out again and again, this refers back to what paul was just saying, that my work and i think some of the other things really tries to establish that would have to we set the clock on our understanding and expectations, particularly around the achievements of african-americans and that slavery didn't really meaningfully and for african-americans, that the enormous threat of voluntary servitude did not receive from the lives of african-americans until the full century after when we think that it did, and
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it's another 50 years really almost after that before the mechanisms of opportunity are really available to african-americans. it is 1970, you can't make any argument that african-americans had any kind of their opportunity until 1970. and the achievements of african-americans, educationally anand economically, in the succeeding four years, even with all the bad things that happen and even with a gap that persists, the achievements mathematically are greater than i think, and -- graded any ethnically identifiable group of people in human history. and so there's just tremendous achievement. and what has happened to all of american lives i in the sink rae of time, even with all the setbacks has been at oftentimes the greatest economic expansion in human history for all the people of america. and so the lesson of that is that when you finally fully liberate a full and final population of people within a
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society's population, and all of their talents and ambitions and hard work and aspiration, then they thrive and achieve, and the larger society thrives into cheese. i think in some respects there's been, one of the presidents and i try not to make explicitly political sorts of statements because i still try to write about politics, but i think it's a fair observation to say one of the failures of the president's message, of the articulation of what i think he means even, whether i agree with it or not, one of his own articulations has been to capture this motion that the tasks to be achieved now are less today about repairing the injustices of the past and more about recognizing the greater good in the future for all americans and all humans really, if these remaining obstacles can be attacked. and the legacy, if the issues
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can be overcome, then everyone benefits in this society, and really extraordinary and amazing ways. that's what makes me commend optimistic. in terms of the things i write about, specifically what's in the magazine, i tell the story of a woman named carrie kinsey who, in the summer of 1903, wrote a letter to president teddy roosevelt, just address to teddy roosevelt out the white house, in which she described that her 14 year-old brother named james robson, a 15 year-old son, so this particular story has been very evocative for me from the time i first discovered it years ago. but carrie kinsey writes resident was so and some of 1903 that her 14 year-old brother has been kidnapped and sold into slavery. and her story thing is clear from the start and we don't know
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a lot about carrie kinsey, although i spent years trying to learn more about her. but it's clear from her letter itself that she knows exactly what happens. she knows where her brother is. she misspells the name of the plantation but she knows exactly who has her brother, who has been holding them for almost a year at the point that she writes this letter. she's been busy almost certainly the sheriff, probably the postmaster, i believe the friendliest white official she might encounter in this place in deep south georgia right on the florida state line. she's probably been to the predominant land owner in her part of the county, and the country store nearby bushes attempted to reach out to the powerful white people in the world, and she has met completely indifferent. but at the same time there has been news coverage that she has seen about teddy roosevelt, first having given a speech at lincoln's tomb, the original
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link intense, the dedication, in which he had promised a square deal for the negro. that's the initiation of the deal that we've all been hearing about over the past century, but he is promising a square deal for the negro. and there is a story we go into about teddy roosevelt, but there's been a star of interest in this promise among african-americans, and then in 1900 very, very briefly there are a series of investigations by the federal government, called for by roosevelt itself into these allegations that in a few places in the south that are slow -- still african-americans being held as slaves. so that in some investigation into places in alabama and georgia, and you heard about one of these and she knows that her brother has been stolen away and sold into slavery and now we will do anything about it. so she writes this pointed letter to the president of the united states asking them to do. and the letter is in i think a
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copy of letter isn't maxing. also online. but what is so striking for me about that is if you stop for a moment and imagine that instant in time july 1903 where your brother has been kidnapped, and kidnapped a year ago and is in slavery, she's probably visited him. i think the letter signals that so she has seen in chains being worked with dozens of other men out on a farm, on a 20,000-acre plantation in south georgia owned by the most powerful white family in georgia at the time. she knows the desperate state he is in pictures of witness the deprivations being perpetrated against in -- against them. no one of power in her world cares come and to reach a moment of human desperation so great that the only thing you can think of to do still, the only thing left to try is write a letter to the president of the united states, at the magic that that might actually a college some good.
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the depth of desperation of that moment was so powerful to me when i first found out later. and, of course, what happened, nothing. nothing happened. the letter went to the white house, stamped with the filing number, and then was passed over to the department of justice, and, in fact, there was an investigation. one of these federal investigations have touched on the very fond that james robertson, where he was being held, and, but because she misspelled both the name of the farm and the name of the family, no connection was named. this letter in the that being filed away, department of justice, no further action was ever taken on a. and it remains in the national archives today, along with almost 30,000 pages of very similar accounts, other thousands and thousands of such allegations. they are in other set of hundreds of thousands of them in the files of the naacp from the 1910s and '20s and '30s. so there were these thousands and thousands of such cases all
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across the deep south, and in the end we don't know what happened to james robinson. i've never been able to find any historical record. hopefully he was released along with a bunch of other african-american and as a result of this investigation, this white family tried to cover up what they have been doing. but the terrible irony of the whole thing was that all of those investigations in 1903 failed. there were a few convictions but then president roosevelt had parted i don't have been convicted. the end result of some of investigations, the one resolute moment in which the federal government in that 100 year expanse of lost history, it's the one moment when the federal government actually attempts to step in and enforce the emancipation proclamation, the 13th amendment. but although prostitution still. juries refused to make conviction. federal prosecutors conclude that the fundamental problem is, and this is a hard fact to
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comprehend, they realize that slavery is not, in fact, a crime. it was not a crime in 1903. it was unconstitutional but no federal statute have ever been passed to make the holding of slaves a crime. and so they had no statute on which to bring these prosecutions. and so again and again, white slave holders in the 20th century would go into a court and admit to the fact, and then say, but it's not a crime. and they would be charged with b&h, which is that slavery, but that slavery was a crime, holding a person to pay back a debt. so they would come back and it was a he didn't own any money, i wasn't holding him to pay a debt. i just bought them. he's been asleep so i'm innocent. so windy and the result of this was the department of justice concluded there's no way to prosecute these cases so there's no reason to investigate him. so after the start of where
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would the federal government has a policy of not investigating allegations of slavery and never prosecuted them, and they're very consistent in that until 1942 essentially. and so the legacy of that, i'll stop, is that just as has been described in terms of these economic disparities that the setback that occurs to a family, thousands or millions of family, my family, which were dirt poor, white people in the rural south as well, my family makes a steady progression beginning even long before the '50s and '60s and has the capacity to obtain small amounts of land, more land, go to college, and benefit from all these efforts of uplift which are largely designed by the federal government. where roads get paid, electricity. running water. but all of these things are done in a way that dramatically and disproportionately benefit white
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people and how the white people out of the state of poverty and into the lower middle class in a way that african-americans were excluded from, and so this heading of the clock, of the march towards the middle class is something that we must understand to challenge the issues that remain in the present. >> i think it's a fabulous story, and would invite anyone on the panel to respond. in that case, we do have plenty of time left over for some questions from the audience. and out the back is the microphone. and please raise your hand and i would ask you to wait until the microphone comes to you, state your name and your affiliation. if you happen. so we will start with this lady right here, please. >> my name is katrina browne, and gail referenced a documentary hybrid is called
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"traces of the trade," and so speaking from the context of knowing that family history and the massive extent of north and complicity and slavery and racism, mr. branch, i want to take up your called an invitation to all of us to build on these 50th anniversaries. and i'm not -- what did they say, i want to see you and raise you? is that what they say? the 150th anniversary as well. so the idea we're at the intersection of the incredible 50th anniversary particularly starting this year with the march on washington and "i have a dream" speech, and that coincides with a 150th of the emancipation proclamation, and the fact that dr. king started his speech by saying five score years ago, a great american signed the emancipation proclamation, but 100 years later the negro is still not free, he sets up the 100 years, 50 years later comes a here we are 50 years later.
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and i think what can happen as a result of looking at the 150th of the civil war and civil rights at the same time, because will also soon be upon the 150 of the gettysburg, the gettysburg address and so on, through agencies to five, that allows for conversation i think which is missing which is not just about the black-white unfinished business, but the white north, white south unfinished business. and i can say in a confessional mode i've been primary focus on investing to black americans, but we white northerners have a sign all blame and responsibility on the south when we were very, very, very, very heavily complicit in slavery and racism clear through american history. once you start looking with that lens, use it everywhere. and the history of the civil war. the fact a lincoln at such a hard time as someone was saying early on, passing the 13th amendment when the southerners were not in congress at that time, that pointed out rightly. so to have a national
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conversation what we are looking at how to acknowledge that piece of it, what does that do for the politics about white southerners and white southern conservativ conservatives, and in particular looking both at the history of civil war and civil rights always feel like white northern liberals are self righteously telling them what to do, how does an acknowledgment of that shift the conversation? i work for a notation called the tracing center and was starting to pair up with religious denominations, to try to invite that national conversation over the next three to five years and would love to talk to anyone who would want to join in that work to bring that to the american public in the spirit of this panel. thank you. >> this lady right here. >> hey, how are you all? amanda jackson with american for friends to me. i have somewhat to questions. the first i will direct toward you, doctor branch, on your
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comment about race and his presidency and how america, particularly white america will allow for the discussion of race with this president on their terms to end of one if you could talk all little bit more about that, simply because an example that came to my mind. first example was during the height of the professor gates situation when he was arrested trying to get into his own home and the president initially responded and said the cambridge police acted stupidly. then there was some uproar about it, but he backtracked those comments and really didn't talk about and had a beer some of the comments wonder if the president himself didn't create boundaries by talking up his initial reaction, i think during the first year of his presidency, a situation that presented a very real opportunity to talk about race and he himself backed away from it, and that kind of lead how race to the top that during his presidency.
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and dr. anderson, you had made a comment about the gato and urban america and black on black crime. that wasn't specifically what you said but you essentially talked about how crime in the gato is significantly higher and crime among african-americans, and i feel that when we talk about crime in this country, particularly as relates to minority's, there's always a focus on african-americans, and crime, black on black crimes, has very much so going and very popular, but crime in general occurs among inner ethnic groups. so this crime that occurs with an ethnic groups whether it's asians or whites, or african-americans. that's typical the progression of crime, but how do we shift from the black on black crime would talk about crime in america as opposed to, say americans committing crimes, and just kind of widened the scope of it and shift away from black
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on black, to recognize that it isn't just black on black crime when we're talking the inner ethnic crime. >> well, i would respond to your question directed to me. but it goes to the larger point i think almost everybody here mentioned that we have very, very raw, instructive and in some senses hopeful history, but we all perceive it unconsciously through different lenses. and that's what we're have to work on. the president, i guarantee you there are hundreds of people who work over in the white house who dread any moment that the president mentions race because they know it's going to be misinterpreted. he said if he had a son that his son would look like trayvon martin, and all hell broke loose. people saying he was being too black, you know. so what i'm saying is we have different perceptions of how
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things are filtered through grace, and the president made a judgment that he is better served to try to lift all boats and discuss race, and just the fact that he is black is a racial signal in and of itself, and anything more explicit is a dangerous. i don't really second-guess -- i'm just saying that's sad. i'm not second-guessing whether he should change his behavior. i'm saying we should change our behavior. .. >> to join that culture. but the way the march on washington is interpreted, then and ever since, the next day in
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"the new york times" and on the cover of "life" magazine, it's pictures of black people behaving just like white people so, therefore, they're not threatening. even though he's inviting that way, it was perceived, gosh, those people are really nice. i used to get teased, the press forgave me being a bastard homosexual draft-dodging ex-communist, everything i was because i took the egg off their face. they thought this was going to be a disaster and, in fact, it was nice. and so, in effect, all his crimes are or forgiven because he put port a potties all over the mall and made these scary negroes nice enough for tea. and that's what that is. so we have to work, um, to change the lens of history. dr. king is a model for me because you hear in his voice before you even understand the words that he's got a realism in his voice that's at war with his
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optimism with his principles. and there's like a furnace in his voice, and that's what's really captivating about it. and in order for us to get to that same place ourselves, we've got to step outside of our comfort zones. that's what i try to get, i mean, one small, practical thing. to me, the king day is about that. of i'm always reminded of diane nash who told me once that her enduring metaphor for the movement was her wedding day because her knees were shaking. and she knew she was taking a big leap and self-defining. she said i felt that way in the movement every day because i'm reaching out to people, i'm risking things, i'm risking going to jail, i'm putting myself in other hands about things that are fundamental, and that that's basically what the movement was about. that's what everybody did. and that's what we ought to do, too, we ought to talk to people across these lines. and if we can get comfortable being a little uncomfortable, that's where the rewards lie as
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far as discovery. um, now, having said that, i also want to apologize because i'm trying to catch up with my schedule on the train, and i'm going to have to leave in the next two or three minutes. but i've really enjoyed this, and, again, i want to pay tribute to the monthly for having this article -- issue. thanks for including me and thanks to my fellow panelists. >> thank you, taylor. [applause] >> can you hear me? >> yes. >> i'd just like to respond to your question as well. i think a large number of americans like to think that we're in postracial america, you know? and i think in many ways that made -- we've made a lot of progress over the years, and i've written a book entitled the cosmo pollan canopy which emphasizes the spaces and cities where people come together and get together.
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it's like this island of civility and this sea of segregation that i write about in cosmopolitan canopy. i also write about the iconic ghetto. the iconic ghetto is this notion of the ghetto that a lot of people have in america. yes, we've made lots of progress, tremendous progress over the years, but the ghetto has become this powerful icon in american society and culture. it's also a very important source of stereotype and prejudice and discrimination. and, um, this is very powerful. a person with black skin color deals with these contradictions and dilemmas of status. the person may be doing very, very well class wise, but the
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fee no type -- teen know type, black skin color associates him in the minds of many people with the ghetto. and the ghetto today is really dealing with maasoff unemployment -- massive unemployment. i mean, the poor sections of the ghetto, people are desperate. people are being shot and killed. the wire comes to mind. we're moving through this, one of the most important, i think, changes since the industrial revolution. we are moving from manufacturing to service and high technology in the context of it in an increasingly global economy, you know, where great numbers of people living in these poor commitments -- not just poor black commitments, but poor whites as well -- without the capital to really, the human capital to make adjustments to these changes. you know? and i think that's really, it's
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the black population very, very hard. and so people who can't adjust to this situation oftentimes go to the underground economy, the irregular economy. and you have drug dealing and hustling and bartering and pegging. and what's left of afdc. but great numbers of people barter and exchange things just to make a living, just to live. and a lot of this is done without the benefit of civil law. and so there's a lot of back and forth, the tensions and the can- responsibilities of these commitments in many ways. and especially in -- [inaudible] when civil law is weak, street justice has filled the void. eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. and most people in the community
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are trying to be decent. but you've got a street element living under pressure in these commitments. in order -- communities. in order to survive in the community, you have to have street credibility, you know, street credibility. which is very difficult to obtain. you obtain that by doing deeds, being tough, by being responsible for your own safety and security. what this means is that all these transactions that are going on within the community are going on without the benefit of civil law. and people argue, fight, they have tensions, issues, whatever. we're talking about a very, very high rate of violence in the inner city poor community and crime, you know? and this is not something that's natural. but there's something structural. that is what i've suggested, and i've written about this. and, i mean, the ghetto that we see today, the black ghetto
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community is very, very special and certainly not comparable to many other circumstances where you are as yangs or other people -- asians, or other people, ethnics that you talk about. so i think it's complicated, but in community after community after community, in philadelphia in particular we've got one of the highest killing rates in the country. in chicago right now in certain ghetto communities, i mean, the violence rate is so high and people are being killed left and right. this is not me making something up, this is documentable, what i'm suggesting. and that has to be attended to, that has to be dealt with. i could go on, but i won't. i just wanted to just expand on, just respond to your commentary. >> can we get some questions from the back now? you have something? great. >> sorry to see taylor branch leave but just wanted to
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acknowledge that. my name is mark lloyd, i'm the director of the media policy initiative here at the new america foundation, and i wanted to applaud washington monthly for this issue. this is really an excellent piece of work. but my comments and questions given my title probably will not surprise you. dow boys reck -- du bois recognized the importance of the media in establishing crisis, dr. king recognized the importance of media in urging dr. parker to go and investigate televisions in the south. the kerner commission recognized the importance of media in talking -- media's one of the reasons for the riots in the '60s. media sort of talked around in this report, i didn't want see a -- i didn't see a report about our very segregated media here in the united states, and i was wondering if you could commitment about that and, again, speaking to
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dr. anderson's notion about structural problems, we may have some structural problems related to mealed ya and how it -- media and how it relates to race and how race is related and the problems with reason and research and resonance in relationship to media as well. thank you. >> gail, do you want to speak to that one? >> i can only say we're a short amount of time and so many pages to fill in this particular issue. but we certainly in designing the approach to this work at the foundation have a strong emphasis on the media. we started out by funding an assessment of the media from the standpoint of the demographics and the racial imbalances. and we have funded people like the maynard institute and others to work on changing that. talk radio is probably the worst in this area, and when it's dominated not only by people
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from one racial background, but from one ideology almost and one political perspective, you end upper pep waiting the same myth. so the structural dynamics within the media are critical. and we've done a lot of work with the various associations of the media, we've held workshops to inform them so they can see better, reporters can understand what unconscious bias is at play so they can learn how to reframe stories to tell multiple perspectives. and you may have noticed particularly with npr that there is a shift, that there is more diverse, um, there are more diverse perspectives, if you will, than you saw five years ago. so we're not where we need to be as a country, but you nailed the critical piece particularly now with technology. we've got to really focus on that area for structural change. >> i'd like to quickly add one thing to that. one, i think it underscores the importance in this sort of
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absence of diversity so much in the media, it upside scores -- underscores the portion of what the kellogg foundation does in funding instruments of media but still letting it operate independently. bringing the -- because of the business model of the media has collapsed, and i've experienced that very directly myself, and having worked at both the washington journal and the -- wall street journal and the washington post, and so the business models are in peril, and the role of philanthropic organizations and i should also note the kellogg foundation helped underwrite my film. another part of that media and likely would not have happened without that kind of philanthropic support. but i also will throw out there it stuns me how little this topic is discussed today of, because five years ago, ten years ago there was a tremendous conversation going on about the lack of diversity in u.s. media, and every major news organization in the country including all of the places that
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i worked had very significant initiatives underway, very sip sere ones -- sincere ones as far as in my experience to try to better diversify the staffs. "wall street journal," even though people associate with the the editorial page, the news pages, the news operation of "the wall street journal" were deeply commit today the even more difficult task for various reasons of trying to diversify the staff there, and "the wall street journal" was the place that the initial story led to my book and the film that began with an article in "the wall street journal." it was a place that was very open to contrarian and unexpected examinations particularly of corporation conduct as it related to things like race. well, all of that has largely gone away. and the, and all the discussion about diversity in the media and the need to undertake initiatives particularly with the economic collapse and the declining business models of these organizations, it turns
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out that was completely a luxury of profitable times. it's all gone. the diversity director folks in a lot of places are gone. when i left "the wall street journal" a year ago, and i don't -- this is not an intentional thing on anyone's part, but i don't believe there had been an african-american reporter or editor of any particular stature in the organization, i don't think there had been a black person hired at "the wall street journal" in the previous four years. and so this place that already was struggling with a diversity issue, i think it has gotten dramatically worse, and what really stuns me is that i believe i have just made the first public observation of that fact that has ever been made. and the associations and such have sort of stopped, stopped raising the human cry that once was raised. >> that was the point, the point that taylor branch made in his piece was, one of the points was
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that we had this incorporation process that was a result to some extent of international pressures, you know, to make america whole, make america look better. and we had this incorporation process. but the pressure for that has becamed. >> yeah. >> you know? >> the only thing i'd like to add, it's a conundrum that we face. i was particularly struck by it in response to the question about the black-on-black crime versus interethnic crime. we have learned that the more we reiterate the disparities, the more it seems to feed the need to hold on to the perceptions and stereotypes. and so you're caught in trying to raise awareness of the issues, but always being mindful of the impact of how you, of your framing of those issues in terms of the impact it's going to be to be on your listeners and your
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audience. so while we lift up the disparities in the profession or the disparities in crime, because we haven't addressed the sort of fundamental backdrop of bias that predominates, people take that, and they find a place to put it in their heads that says, oh, yeah, they're inferior, and that's why those things exist. oh, yeah, they're to be feared, and that's why there's crime in the ghetto. and so we have to figure out how we both address the issues, but also have the sophistication to make sure we're not feeding the monster of the o bias that exists. and i just wanted to say that, because i could hear people listening to some of what's being said, and i could just imagine the brains are going, yeah, yeah, yeah, that's what we know. those places to be afraid of. so it's difficult, it's complex, but we can do it better. and we can, we can overcome this legacy. >> we've got time for just, i guess, just maybe one or two
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more very, very brief questions. maybe up front here. >> i'm neil pierce, washington post writers' group. i've been writing for years about criminal justice problems in the united states which have a terrific racial overlay to them. there was -- and i'm wondering where action might come. there was a proposal by senator webb before he left the senate for a commission on criminal justice which would look into what's happening with the system, would have deep racial implications in the way that it was carried out. it passed the house interestingly last congress, failed when one republican senator got up and objected in the senate. it could be done by presidential executive order. perhaps not at well, but it could be dope. i wonder if that is a way that we could begin to see some more debate on the real implications or that are both in the criminal justice system and its racial
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implications and what a presidential willingnesses to move on this could represent. >> i'm so delighted, neil, that you brought that up, because it gives me a chance to brag about two stories in the current issue of the washington monthly in which we address exactly that. one by glenn lowery, the eminent scholar, on how it is we got to a position where huge numbers of african-americans are cycling through our system of prisons and how even if each one of those cases were rightly, rightly tried -- and that's a big assumption -- we would still, they would still be morally indefensible. and a piece by mark kleiman on how we can reduce those numbers by 60, 80% through clever and proven methods of parole and probation reform.
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people simply aren't -- are being, well, i won't quote it, i'll simply suggest you and some of our readers read these two pieces at washingtonmonthly.com can. they're very, very persuasive. one more question, then we've got to go. yeah, sure. please. >> i'm bear gnarled, and i'm just a private citizen. my question kind of follows up on this gentleman's question, it's directed to professor blackmon and his book, "slavery by another name." it relates to disparities in incarceration. as everyone knows angela dais and michelle michelle singletars written powerfully about the prison industrial complex and it impact on african-americans. prisons are primarily built in rural communities, thus creating jobs for those communities, but they're being fueled by black
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and brown bodies. so one community is being depleted, another community is being enhanced. and, obviously, as michelle singletary -- michelle alexander, i'm sorry, writes about these individuals are branded for life. but while they're incarcerated, they're counted for census purposes in those prisons, which they are. can you speak to that and speak to solutions? there's a huge industry that, obviously, is lobbying for prisons in these communities. >> well, i don't know, we've only got probably just a few seconds, and that's a gigantic and incredibly important question with really complex answers, i think, and i don't have all the answers to that. i know more about how badly things went in the past. perhaps in the present, though i have written some more recently and have taken real interest in the issue of the reliability of the criminal justice system and its convictions.
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and i've become very convinced in addition to some of the just this basic observational problem of mass incarceration, particularly of african-american men, and that whatever exactly the explanation for that is, it is a blight and a cancer upon our society. something is terribly, terribly wrong. even if all the convictions were valid, even if all these men had done, in fact, the things they were accused of which we know is not the case in at least substantial numbers, that something terrible is happening there, and it's something we continue to largely as a society to want to close our eyes to. but i have become very convinced, and i think there's a lot of youing empirical evidence of the unreliability of convictions that all of us -- it will be the issue that 50 years from now when we look back on this time and we say to ourselves and our children and grandchildren say how could they have ignored that, how could that not have been so obvious to
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them that all these people were going to prison who had not actually done the things they were accused of and all these people who were, who were punished in disproportionate and disparate ways, that will be the observation that is made on our time. at the same time, as we go into it, i also think we have to be, we've got to be honest. i think part of the message here today has been break out of these standard positions and standard, they're sort of conventional views from the leavitt to the right -- left to the right or what color you consider yourself to be and sort of wrestle with the difficult honesty of this. one of those issues is that african-americans in really distressed neighborhoods, you know, for a long time were incredibly supportive of really harsh measures to try to bring safety and security. and that's been an element, too, that americans wanted this really tough response when there were much higher crime levels across the country. now crime levels are falling,
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and we're waking up and saying where are all the black men? what's happened to all these guys? and we're distressed about it, but we wanted it. you know, and it's not as simple as that some mysterious, distant power made all this happen. we made it ap. all of us made it happen. and we now have an obligation to get honest about that and to reckon with the consequences of our need for security in another time. >> can i respond? >> go ahead, please. >> go to the street in which i go into the community and talk to real people and observe real people. and one of the points of this book is that for many black people living in these communities, there are two different systems of law, one for white people and one for black people. and the wider system with respect to the police, the agencies, the social control
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have abdicated their responsibilities to the community. and so people are on their own, and this code of the street prevails, you see? and the sense is that the crime in the black community will just not be investigated. you can call the police, they may not come. they may come late. so you're really on your own, you see? and this encourages this, this street justice mentality within the community. it's very important to consider. >> gail, some final thoughts? >> just this is a wonderful day. it's a wonderful moment, a wonderful publication, and we hope that it marks the beginning of an ongoing willingness to address the issue that is a part of the definition of our country, both its past, its present and its future. so i thank you all for showing your interest and being here, and i applaud the washington
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monthly and you as a wonderful editor for having pulled together something that is, i believe, really unprecedented. so thank you very much. >> thank you, gail. i want to thank -- [applause] thank you. i want to thank gail and the folks at kellogg for partnering with us on this, and, um, i feel like this has been, you know, we stretched ourselves to think of some things beyond what we ever had, out of our comfort zone. it was an extremely rewarding experience. i want to thank, also, new america foundation, reed kramer who also contributed to the issue a great piece, lots of great pieces we couldn't talk about it. i want to thank my partner and colleague, deanne, for making this whole thing possible and also everyone else at the washington monthly. thank you all for coming, appreciate it. >> the association for american medical colleges estimates the u.s. will have a shortage of
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approximately 21,000 primary care physicians by 2015. today a panel of primary care doctors will testify on access to primary care at a senate health subcommittee. watch live coverage on c-span at 10 a.m. eastern. later in the day president obama will be in las vegas to talk about immigration policy. monday a bipartisan group of senators released their proposal to overhaul u.s. immigration laws. watch the president's remarks live on c-span just before 3 eastern. >> one can't count the times that americans say that we're the best country in the world. what a marvelously stupid thing to say. of all the countries in the world, everybody thinks their country is pretty good. why do we have to believe that
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we're the best? what does that, what does that mean? and why do we have to assert it all of the time? and what does it mean to other people who consume it? american products go around the world, information products go around the world, so you're observed by people in every corner of the world. and we teach them not to like us. gratuitously. >> author, activist and transafrica founder randall robinson taking your calls, e-mails, facebook comments and tweets "in depth," three hours live sunday at noon eastern on booktv on c-span2. >> next, remarks from the head of the u.s. africa command,
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general carter ham. the outgoing general spoke at howard university about security and counteror terrorism challenges in northern africa, including mali. president obama nominated general david rodriguez to replace general ham earlier this month. this is just over an hour. [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon and welcome. it is, i'm harold scott, interim director of the ralph bunche international affairs center, and it's my pleasure to welcome general carter ham to howard university and the ralph bunche center on behalf of sydney our president and wayne frederick, our provost. general ham has had a very distinguished career in public service and in the military. general ham served as an enlisted infantryman in the 82nd
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airborne division before attending john carroll university in cleveland, ohio. he was commissioned in the infantry as a distinguished military graduate, and his military services include assignments in kentucky, ohio, california and germany, just to name a few. he has also served in saudi arabia, qatar, macedonia and iraq. he's held a vawrty of positions including area comoonder, battalion executive officer, adviser to saudi arabia national guard brigade and the multi-national by gad in iraq. -- brigade in iraq. his military education includes advanced course, naval college stance, graduating with distinction and a u.s. air force air war college. i want to say a few notes about
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the program today. general ham is going to speak, and then we will have a question and answer session. i ask that we all be mindful of the time and keep your questions brief. please be mindful that this is a lecture, and we are going to encourage faculty and student participation. i will recognize our students first before moving to faculty and other guests. one final note. although ralph bunch's scholarly and diplomatic achievements are very well known, what is less well known is he began his career in the oss which was the forerunner to the cia. and one of the things ralph was doing wheel he was in the cia was writing these intelligence assessments before world war ii stressing the national security importance of africa to the united states. he was one of the first people in the u.s. government that looked at africa not simply as a
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pendant of europe, but something that the u.s. should take seriously. i find it interesting that africa was organized into exactly that. so it gives me this opportunity to not only welcome general carter ham to howard university, but to welcome africom back to howard. >> thank you. [applause] well, thanks very much, dr. scott. that's a very kind introduction. i would just point out one fact in his introduction as he cited some of the places where i've served over time and things that i've done, you heard no mention of service in africa. which is an entering thing for the guy who's commanding united states africa command. but the fact of the matter is until very recently, africa was not very high on the list of priorities for the united states military. and so it's an interesting,
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interesting juxtaposition, if you will, to come to howard university, a university founded in 1867 with the nation's oldest africa studies program and be the guy who's commanding an organization that is less than five years old, stood up on the 1st of october of 2008. and so we have a mix, perhaps, today of the old and the new between howard and africa command. what i would like to do today is take just a few minutes to talk with you a little bit about who we are, what we're doing, a couple of timely topics, perhaps, but reserve most of the time for your questions and comments and discussions. i think that's why you came. there's more to hear that kind of a discussion than to hear me rattle on. so we'll certainly focus on that as we move of forward. but, again, let me come back to this point of why africom.
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again, it formed just in 2008. we are one of six geographic what we call combatant commands. six commands that look at parts of the world day in, day out. and so it won't surprise you there's a geographic command for the pacific, one for south america and one now for north america. there used to not be one of those. that was today up after, after 9/11. one for the mideast, we call that central command that does iraq and afghanistan and that part of the world, and then european command which until 2008 also had responsibility for africa. so they were merged in those days. and i think what happened in the mid 2000s is that the united states, perhaps belatedly, came to the conclusion that africa
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was of -- is of great concern to the united states in many different ways. and so and one of them being in the security front. so in the mid 2000s the decision was made to form car command and then -- africa command and then formally establish the command in 2008. the benefit of that is, frankly, there's a group of people with whom i serve who wake up every day thinking about african security matters. we didn't have that before. the focus of the command was split between europe and africa, wildly different factors and criteria to be considered. so if nothing else, i think there is some goodness in having a group of people who think about africa, who establish relationships with african leaders both military and civilian and, hopefully, will establish enduring relationships which will be very, very important for us. the mission of the command, actually, is quite simple.
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it is to protect the national interests of the united states. we are a united states military organization. that's what the united states military does. but what's interesting to us is that we do that perhaps a little differently than many of the other geographic combatant commands of the u.s. military. we find that we are at our best and the way that we best protect the national security interests of the united states and africa is by strengthening the defense capabilities of african nations so that they are able to provide for their own security and, importantly, increasingly contribute to regional security and stability as well. now, like every other u.s. military organization we have to always be prepared to conduct military operations at the direction of our president and the secretary of defense. the operations in libya in 2011
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are an example of that. when so directed by our president, then we have to take on those kinds of actions. but mostly we think our effort is best when we are working to increase the capabilities of our african partners. our activities in africa are guided by two overarching but simple principles. the first is simply that a safe, stable, secure africa is in the best interests not only of the african cups, but of our country as well. and the second principle is one that was articulated first by president obama when he visited ghana in 2009 and where our president stated that in the long runs the africans who are best able and best capable of addressing africa's challenges. that often gets condensed in the shorthand of african solutions to african problems, but it's an
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important principle. secretary clinton last year on one of her many trips to africa expanded upon president obama's views and said, yes, africa's solutions for african problems, but increasingly global problems require african solutions as well. and i think what secretary clinton was getting at is that, is that africa's no longer isolated. africa's part of a broader global community, and the african countries have a role to play and have contributions to make. so those principles, i think, are quite important for us as we think about what it is that we're supposed to do on behalf of our country. um, we're guided, also, in addition to those two principles, there are two overarching documents, united states government documents that help shape our activities. the first is the presidential policy directive on sub-saharan africa. that outlines the u.s. government's policy and strategy toward africa.
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and it's based on four pillars. the first, to promote opportunity and development. the second, to spur economic growth, trade and investment. thirdly, to advance peace and security. and fourth, to strengthen democratic institutions. that's what our country said, that's what our president said, that's how we're going to build the united states' strategy and our policy toward africa. we at africom unsurprisingly to you focusly on that third pillar of advancing peace and security in our engagements with individual african states, with regional organizations and with the african union as we move forward, help them move forward to achieve the other three objectives. it is important, i think, to me, to recognize that advancing peace and security is foundational to achieving the
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other three pillars. it's tough to have good governance, it's tough to have growth and opportunity if you don't have a modicum of peace and stability. so we think our objectives are pretty important. so that presidential policy directive helps shape our government, our activities in africa as it does every other branch and element of the u.s. government. the second document that guides our action is the defense strategic guidance which was issued by the president and the secretary of defense about a year ago. now, this is a document that articulates in general terms what is expected of the armed forces of the united states. and it is in this document where we first codified the idea of rebalanced the pacific. so you've heard that phrase in discussion cans, but it's in this document where that comes out. well, what does that mean for us
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in africa? where the priority regions of the world for the u.s. defense establishment are the pacific and the mideast? in fact, if you read the document -- which i would encourage you to do -- you'll find that the word "africa" appears precisely one time. and so -- [inaudible] and our african partners read that, and they say does that mean you don't care about us? so i, my response to them is don't focus so much on the word, don't focus so much on the geography. um, i think for understandable reasons that the pacific is vitally important to the united states; economically, politically. i mean, there is a focus there. but when you look at the articulation of the priorities that the nationing establishes for the -- that the nation
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establishes for the armed forces, we find that the activities that the united states military engages in in africa come through loud and clear. at the top of that list, unsurprisingly, is countering violent extremist organizations. sadly, that's a necessary function for us in africa today. but it's not the only thing that we do. we do a lot more. another priority in the defense strategic guidance is maintaining global access to and throughout the continent so as to facilitate global trade. and africa's a place that has two key, strategic chokepoints in the mamdeb and the straits of gibraltar. people forget that one-half of the straits of gibraltar are in africa. even thinks they're the european side, they forget about the african side. takes two sides to make us straight. and lots of economic traffic passes through those two chokepoints. for us, the gulf of guinea
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becoming strategic from an economic standpoint, so maintaining global access is important. a third priority articulated in this guidance is what we call building partner capacity. this is the substance of what we do in africa. this is working with african partners, again, to help them build the capabilities and the capacities that they need not only for their own security, but so that they can contribute to regional organizations that build security as well. now, you say, well, why do we want to do that? why is that in the best interests of the united states? well, we find if there are, if there are capable security forces, it lessens the likelihood of conflict. it lessens the likelihood that there will be disputes between, between nations. and it lessens the likelihood that u.s. military activities might be required. so we think for a multiplicity of reasons, working with our
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african partners to increase their capability is a worthwhile endeavor. in fact, our main effort on the continent. another set of requirements that fall to us are assisting with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. and, again, regrettably, these are circumstances which present themselves in africa, and sometimes these are of such magnitude that they exceed the capacities of host nations to contend with, and sometimes they need a little bit of help. the last priority is one that's relatively new, at least new if not in concept, new in formalized doctrine and guidance from the united states, and that's the prevention and response to mass atrocities. and, again, it's unfortunate but fact that mass atrocities have occurred in africa, and we want to work, find ways working with african militaries some of whom in the past have been the
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potential traitors of -- perpetrators of mass atrocities, how do we work with those organizations to prevent and, if necessary, respond to mass atrocities. all of that says to me that while africa is not the priority region of the world as articulated in the defense strategic guidance, the mission sets the tasks given to the united states military in that strategic guidance match very, very cleanly with what we are trying to do inside africa. let me shift now to just highlight a couple of ongoing activities, and maybe that will spur some thought for questions and comments, and we'll shift that to very quickly. as i mentioned, our highest priority is countering the growing network of violent extremist organizations in africa. another way to put that is our mission is to protect america,
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americans, and american interests from threats that may emerge from the continent of africa. and we see this manifest ourselves in somalia with al-shabaab, in the maghreb and as playing out now in mali with al-qaeda in the lands of the islamic maghreb and other organizations, shifting a bit further south into nigeria, the existence of focal haram, organizations that are all focused on undermining the gore nance of those countries -- governor nabs of those concern governance of those countries and establishing their own regime of control outside of legitimate government control. while i'm very concerned about each of those individualing entities, al-shabaab, aqim, an starral deem, it is increasingly the coordination, the sin coanyization of efforts of those different organizations that is of concern to me.
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we're starting to see increasing collaboration, sharing of funding, sharing recruiting efforts, sharing of weapons and explosives and, certainly, a sharing of ideology that is expanding and connecting these various organizations. and i think that's what poses the greatest immediate threat in the nation, and my guess is you'll probably have some questions about activities in the mali, and we can certainly talk about that. a second set of ongoing efforts as is the african-led effort to bring the lord's resistance army leader joseph kony and his senior lieutenants, to bring them to justice as they're indicted by the international criminal court. you'll remember just over a year ago president obama directed us to deploy a small number of u.s. special operations personnel to
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assist the militaries of the four countries or that are involved in this effort. uganda, south sudan, central african republic and the democratic republic of congo. our role is not to be tracking down kony. the ugandans, the central africans and others are much better at that than we would be. but we do bring u.s. capabilities in terms of intelligence, mobility, logistics and other capabilities, and we have seen some progress as of late with increased defections, increased effectiveness by the african forces. so the effort against the lord's resistance army continues. and there are a number of other events and incidents that we can certainly talk about in the question and answer period. what i would ask you, though, to think about is it's real easy in africa to get focused on all of the negative things, you know?
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there's challenges in mali, to be sure. libya's got challenges. the great lakes region is certainly in turmoil right now. many other places, there are lots of problems. i think it's worthwhile every now and then to take a step back and in addition to looking at the problem sets -- which is important to do -- but it's also important to looked to look at the good things and at the opportunities that present this themselves. africa is home to depending on which survey you look at six or seven of the fastest-growing economies in the world. that's pretty extraordinary. but it gets lost in the noise sometimes. there's lots of countries that have successful elections. we focus on those where there's a coup or other unsettling events, and we tend to not think about the places where there have been successful elections and good progress made.
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so all of that says to me that africa, while certainly the home of lots of challenges, is also the home of great opportunity and progress and hope. and i think that we should never forget about that as well. um, as i was mentioning to dr. scott, i've had in the almost two years i've been in command the opportunity to travel quite a bit in africa, and i've been now to 42 of the countries. it's been exciting and exhilarating, tiring at times, to be sure. it's a big place to move about. but one of the things i learned early on, a member of my staff who belongs to the u.s. foreign service gave me a list of african proverbs. he says, hey, you ought to think about these and what these men. and i found one that, to me, i think ideally captures what we at u.s. africom are trying to do. it says simply if you want to go
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fast, go alone. be you want to go far -- if you want to go far, go together. and we at u.s. africa command choose to go far, and we choose to go together with our african partners. so with that, thank you very much, and i will welcome your questions. [applause] i think the ground rule is if it's an easy one, i'll answer it. if it's a hard one, i'll toss it to dr. scott. [laughter] >> okay. now i'll open the floor for questions. just raise your hand. go ahead, sir. >> should we give the score first? so some of you know, some of you know that the africa cup of nations is a fairly important event in africa. in fact, a few days ago -- and the colonel are recognize this -- i told my staff, i said there will be no fighting in mali today. and they looked at me, and they said why have you suddenly become clairvoyant?
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i said, no, mali and niger play today in the africa cup. so today not so good, mali and ghana played today. we're about to get a report from ghana, i think. >> i just want to make one note. turn on your microphone to speak after you're finished, please, turn it off of so we can cut down on the feedback. >> thank you very much, dr. scott. my name is -- [inaudible] i was introduced to the general, and i told him i'm an immigrant from ghana, so he started talking about the soccer and was teasing the colonel, who is from mali, that we are sitting together. gauze ghana just -- because ghana just plays mali. thank you, general. my quick question is mali was part of the counterterrorism program for the past eight years, and as we see, last year just descended, and mali now has
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such difficult problems. and so my question, if i look at the counterterrorism program which, as you said, is designed to strengthen africa militaries, it doesn't seem to have worked very well in mali. therefore, my question is, in "the washington post" they say this year you're going to expand it to other african cups and train them -- countries and train them to deal with security problems. why give medicine to more people when the one person who took it certainly hasn't recovered and it could be argued that they are doing worse? why not bring africom to the u.s. instead of on the continent? because i'm anxious about it, and i know lots of africans are anxious about it. i mean, the headquarters of africom. >> it's -- the question about mali is a very, very fair question. and the colonel probably has some more insightful view on this. but we have had a u.s. training
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effort with the malian armed forces for a number of years. some of that has occurred in mali and some of it was officers coming to the u.s. for training to include captain senogul who led the military coup which overthrew the constitutionally-elected government. that's very worrisome for us. so we looked at that. we asked ourselves this question, first of all, what did we -- did we miss the signs that this was happening? and was there anything that we did in our training that was, that was, that could have been done differently perhaps to have caused a different outcome? i think the answer is a little bit of both. as we look at this from a purely military standpoint, we focused,
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we were focusing our training almost exclusively on tactical or technical matters; how to operate various pieces of equipment, how to improve effectiveness of tactical operations and the like. and the colonel probably knows, i see that he's a paratrooper, so we did, you know, how to you do aerial resupply of remote bases and those kinds of things. all of which is very, very good. we didn't spend probably the requisite time focusing on values, ethics and a military ethos that says when you put on the uniform of your nation, then you accept the responsibility to defend and protect that nation, to abide by the legitimate civilian authority that has been established, to conduct yourselves according to the rule
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of law and to see yourselves really as servants of the people of the nation. um, we didn't do that to the degree that we needed to, i think. i believe we focused exclusively on technical and tactical. so we've learned from that. but i would also say that there are other countries across the continent, indeed, across the globe, where we have had enduring relationships where the military has performed admirably when the nation has been stressed. tunisia comes to mind as an example as a place where, again, where the military was under great pressure but performed very effectively during the revolution there. so i think there's a lot to be learned from that. with regard to the headquarters location, we're in stuttgart because it made -- it was practical, frankly. when the command was birthed
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from european command, the people were already right there, the facilities were right there, so it made sense to operate, continue to operate from germany where we are today in good facilities with good access to africa through the civilian airports that are in europe. it keeps us in general hi the same time zones -- generally the same time zones as our african partners, so it's a pretty good location for us to operate. there was early on consideration of the command headquarters being located somewhere in africa. we're no long or considering that. we think where we are is the right place to be. thank you. >> back there. i want to give a student a chance. >> hi, general. my name -- [inaudible] i'm not sure the united states has, because in nigeria we had
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to call police -- [inaudible] and now i'm not sure the united states has done anything about the collapse of these activities. and if they have, what exactly have they done to cause the activities -- [inaudible] >> thanks. thank you. it's a great question. of first and foremost, we recognize that it is not only the u.s., the united states finish it's not our responsibility to address that, to be the primary people to address that. that must reside with the nigerian government. if we, if we tried to take the lead, we wouldn't get it right because we don't, we don't understand the context. we're americans, not nigerians. and it would be very difficult for us to be effective. so our focus has been working through our u.s. ambassador, through our attache with the
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nigerians to say what can we do to help you. and we think that's the right approach. and so we have an ongoing dialogue with the nigerian officials on what types of support might be helpful. to my comments about mali and as one example, there are numerous nigerian officers and warrant officers and noncommissioned officers who train with us both here in the united states and in other programs across europe. we think that that's a very good endeavor. we are talking with the nigerians, they've made some specific requests to help them use some of the lessons that we have learned in iraq and afghanistan, for example, in countering improvised explosive devices, how do you consider that weapon that's being used increasingly by boro haram, and
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there are some technologies and some procedures that we might be able to assist with. on a more mundane level, things like equipment of helping nigeria get their military aircrafts to a state where they can operate routinely and reliably. so that piece is important as well. and since, though you didn't ask, let me just take this opportunity to commend nigeria for offering the force commander for the africa-led international support mission for mali. the force commander will be a nigerian, there will be a nigerian contingent, and i think that's a great effort by the great country of nigeria. >> the young woman there in the second row. you there. >> hi, how are you? hi, general ham. i'm robin --
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[inaudible] hi, general hamm, i'm robin sanders. i was formerly the u.s. ambassador in nigeria. i just wanted to follow up on mali and wanted to ask you a strategic question. what would be the end game, from your view, in mali? is it absolute elimination of the jihadists, or is it containment? and i ask that, i know we're providing lift to the french and to the african union forces as well as to the malian army, but i also wanted to have an idea on the strategic level what do we see as the end game and/or the exit strategy? what is the end game? is it just containment and pushback, or is it absolutely, you know, eliminating all of the jihadists that are in the region? >> thank you, madam ambassador. i suspect you could probably answer the question better than i can, but let me start by saying in mali we view this not as a single problem, but rather or as four very much
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interrelated problems. and ambassador carson, assistant secretary carson and i have had the opportunity to travel together throughout the region and talk about this. so let me identify just how we look at the four problems. first les the restoration -- there's the restoration of constitutional government in bomb coe as a necessary precondition. second is addressing the concerns of a largely-disaffected population in the northern portion of the country. thirdly is, as you mentioned, madam ambassador, the existence in northern mali now of al-qaeda and other terrorist and extremist organizations that undermine the rule of law. in fact, they've eliminated the rule of law in that portion of the country. that's got to be dealt with. and the fourth problem is one that doesn't get much attention but, actually, in the long run might be the most difficult to address, and that's the bad and
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worsening humanitarian assistance conditions across the sahel. now, if any one of those four problems existed, it would be a significant problem. when all four exist simultaneously, it makes it increasingly complex. so with that in mind, we think that the right end state, first, has to be legitimate government of bamako, the ability for that government to extend its reach into all portions of the country so territorial integrity of mali is nonnegotiable. no discussion of a separatist state or something like that. but it also appears that mali has asked for and will need some help to establish government control in the north. realistically, we would all like to see the elimination of al-qaeda and others from northern mali. realistically, probably the best you can get is containment and
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disruption so that al-qaeda is no longer able control territory -- no longer able to control territory as they do today, no longer able to control the lives of the population centers particularly in the three main cities of tim buck few, gao -- timbuktu. those have to be freed and restored under malian control. so those are what i would see as the end state, and i think that others in the african union and the u.n. see those end states as well. one last point, we very clearly see this from the u.s. government side that this must, this must be in fact and in perception an african-led endeavor that is done at the request of the malian government. i think that's well underway now. >> right there. >> hello, general.
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hello, general. my name is emanuel johnson, cadet in the army rotc, and this is currently a topic that i'm going over in class. i'm sure you've heard the rumors and concerns about people say how we got involved in libya and all the intervention that we did. people say we had our reasons, but people are wondering why aren't we doing the same in syria. but from what i've gathered, it's about fears of accidentally arming jihad and -- i'm sorry.
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[inaudible conversations] >> arming jihad. i can't really remember the question. i'm sorry. >> no, that's fine. i think i got enough to go on, but thank you very much. and i don't i think we'll have e to talk a little bit later, and as an rotc graduate myself, thanks to choose as you're serving -- to serve as you're choosing to serve. libya is absolutely a fair topic to talk about. we have to go put it in context and remember how things in libya began. think back to march of 2011, that's easier for us old people to do than for you young guys. that seems like a long time ago. but in that situation you had in the city of benghazi, a city of about 700,000 people, you had the libyan army poised on the outskirts of that town, and we
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had language coming from the leader of libya, words like we will hunt them down like rats, we will exterminate them like vermin. africa and the world have heard these words before, and with very harsh consequence. so the united nations made a decision, our made a decision -- our president made a decision, in my perm view a bold, in my personal view a bold decision that said we are not going to stand for that. we are not going to let this army go in and kill innocents in the city of benghazi. and so we took military action to prevent that. and remember how this started. the start of the mission was protect civilian populations. it wasn't take sides, it wasn't, it was not support the revolution, it was protect
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civilians. and that's how this started. and then as, after a while as nato took the mission, the mission evolved into something different. but it is important to remember how it started. it is absolutely, i think, a fair question to say why did you act in libya in this circumstance under the doctrine, if you will, or the principle, if you will, of the responsibility to protect noncombat taxes -- b combat taxes, why did you choose to do that in libya and not choose -- or choose to not do that in other places? each circumstance, of course, is significantly different. and it has to be measured on its own merits. it also addresses, i think, the limits of power. military power does not solve all problems. and importantly in libya, there was aup security council resolution -- a u.n. security council resolution that called for this mission and authorized
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all available means. in syria there is no such security council resolution that would, that would provide the legal underpinning for an operation in syria similar to what was conducted in libya. so it's a great question, but there are significant differences, i think. i should caveat all of that by reminding all that syria's not in my region, so i'm a long, long way from a syrian expert. but as an interested observer, that's kind of how i see the difference. >> thank you, dr. scott and yen. my name is melvin foote, i'm a member of an organization called the constituency for africa, we work on public policy here in the united states and building support for africa. i can say as a young man coming out of college, my father always told me i should support my country, and this was during the time of vietnam. rather than go to vietnam, i
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opted for going into the peace corps. having said that, a lot of people --ive been involved in following africom from its inception because the bulk of the people in the domain don't feel africom is what it's saying it is. they're saying the real goal is militarization and not necessarily security. and so my question to you, we see an increasing military presence, we see the drone policy in somalia and elsewhere in africa, we see this joseph joseph kony exposition going on, and we see the american military increasingly involved in action around the continent. one question is how do you measure success, yeah, how do you say you succeeded in the mission? then the other part is, how is africom informed by civil society both in the united states and africa? how do you engage your diaspora here in the united states, the african diaspora in efforts to promote security in africa?
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>> great questions, all. and i would preface that by saying, um, maybe unusual for a guy in uniform, i'm a huge supporter of the peace corps and thank you for choosing to volunteer. they're still looking for volunteers, by the way, so if you want to come back, there's lots who are coming back. you chuckle about that, but there are lots of peace corps volunteers who served as young people, did their service and went on and had successful careers and doing whatever it is that they were going to do, and many are now coming back for a second tour with the peace corps. and it's deeply appreciated. and not only, not only by wuss wuss -- by us, but i think by all americans. especially by the ambassador, and the ambassador can attest to this, having a seasoned, experienced peace corps volunteer come back to a country is hugely beneficial. so thanks, thanks for choosing to serve. and we should also remember that
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particularly in africa but in other parts of the world to be sure, for many people the only american they'll ever meet is a peace corps volunteer. so it's a very powerful program. i get asked a lot, you know, what about this militarization of u.s. foreign policy and, you know, is africom really just a guise to allow the u.s. military an entree into africa, and is that really what you're, you you know, what you're about there, is to get a presence on the continent? let me just say from a, just from a scale the state department and usaid is the principal entity of the government that spends money, spends last fiscal year between eight and nine billion, billion with a b, in africa. the department of defense spent a little more than $500 million. so there's a, i mean, there's
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just a dollar comparison in terms of what the level of effort is. overwhelmingly, the u.s. government's support to african countries falls into the categories of health care, education and agriculture. security is a very, very minor part of it. it's an important part, but it's a minor part of the u.s. overallen gaugement with african -- overall engagement with african countries, and i think that's probably as it should be. the defense strategic guidance which i referred to in my opening comments tells me from the president and the secretary of defense that in africa we are to seek a light footprint and innovative approaches and low-cost approaches to achieving the united states' security objectives. to that end, we have one base in
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africa, it's in jabuti where we have about 2,000 people, and it supports not only u.s. africa command, but u.s. central command which is just across the gulf of aden. transportation command as well. that's our enduring presence on the continent. other places on the continent, the military, our military goes for specific missions usually limited scale and limited duration such as the hundred personnel who are supporting the africans in the effort to bring joseph kony and his senior lieutenants to justice. they are indicted by the international criminal court, so we think our efforts not only is there's a u.s. law that tells us to do that and kind of principle one for the u.s. military is follow the law, so when there's a u.s. law that says do this, we go, we go do that. which is an important part of the consideration is that, as i
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mentioned, i go to -- i travel a bit. i've been to 42 of the different countries. whatever country in africa i happen to be in, there's always a senior american, and it's never me. it's always the ambassador or the star jay defair. we don't do anything independently. the u.s. military doesn't do anything independently in any country in africa. anything that we do is undertaken with the consultation and the support from the chief of mission and in that particular country that chief of mission, that ambassador is our president's and our country's senior representative, and my job, our job at africa command is to support that ambassador in the attainment of his or her objectives. the, one success story, and i think this is, this is an important one, and it's the african union mission in
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somalia. if you had told me a year ago that somalia would have an elected president, a parliament that mogadishu would be largely free of al-shabaab, i would have told you you're crazy. there's no way that that could happen. yet that's exactly what has happened. and it has happened because the african countries under african union leadership collectively made a determination that that's what they were going to do. i was privileged in about a year and a half ago to be invited to a very, very small meeting of african chiefs of defense from a small number of countries in east africa who had been directed by their presidents to say you guys develop the military strategy to defeat al-shabaab. ..
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>> but it was african lead. and i think that's a pretty good model, and i think that's a pretty good success story. the nation is not complete in somalia. somalia has a long way to go but the fact that president is on was hit lastly, that our secretary of state formally announced the recognition of that government, this is
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inconceivable just a few years ago. i think again that's where we are at our best. not necessarily leading, supporting, training, equipping, helping in ways that the africans ask us to help. that's what we do best. >> good afternoon. i am with the institute for policy studies, and just really want to applaud the center for hosting this event, bring us together the week of an incredible inauguration and celebration of martin luther king day, to be able to talk about foreign policy. so i thank you for your vision. commander hamm, there's so many areas as she spoke that i thought i want to quibble on and question.
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i guess at the core of it when you talk about the state department giving at the 9 billion the department of defense giving 500 million to africa, it seems a bit disingenuous. primarily because the state department covers funds for private military contractors, that many would think are covered by the department of defense. so it seems a bit disingenuous to put it in that way, to create a sense that the state department is actually dominated by many of us, are truly concerned that the department of defense is having way too much sway tensions of euros for foreign policy, not only in africa but especially in africa. the africa union met this week. top on the agenda is jobs. it's an economic livelihood for primarily young people who are like a wonderful students at howard, graduating and tells the prospects for jobs. and i think there's a concern
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that the u.s. in its foreign policy as was many other countries, france and others, are really shifting to emphasize more militaries and military as a means to security. when many see jobs and stable economies as a means to security and stability. so i think that the concerns are many. the concerns around africom standing up in 2008 at a time when africa actually surpassed the middle east of the supply oil to the united states come at a concern that u.s. interest in africa's oil and other vital resources is the true rationale for africom, as was countering china in the african theater. where china is increasing its influence. so i think the concerns were heightened before africom established, but concerns have only grown over time and i wonder if there is any effort to
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evaluate africom. i understand your stepping down and the new commander steps up. where is there an evaluation, there's been a congressional hearing on benghazi but clearly there's a bigger issue at stake, and that is u.s. foreign policy and u.s. militarization still with regard to africa. thank you. >> good, thanks. it won't surprise you that i disagree with most of what you said. which is okay, and the good news is we live in a country where you can do that. it is true that the state department has purview and authority for security assistance matters, so much -- some, not much, some of the eight to 9 billion that is spent, go to security assistance programs. but let's be wildly extravagant and say that's a billion.
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it isn't, but let's say it's a billion. so that still leaves seven to $8 billion that goes to nonmilitary activities. again, mostly health care, education and agriculture. that's what the u.s. spends its money in africa. for all the right reasons. in my view. the one point where i could not agree with you more is about how do you establish security anyplace, and, obviously, i think mostly about in africa. the way i would characterize it is that the military is an essential but not decisive component of establishing security and stability in any particular region. so let's take somalia, for example. there's the presence of an al qaeda affiliated organization. there was a necessity determined by the african union that that
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was a military effort required to dislodge that al qaeda element. that is important. it is essential. it will be non-decisive. the military defeat of al-shabaab will not in and of itself bring security and stability to somalia. that will come with good governance, with local governments, with economic development, education and health care. nonmilitary programs that will be, that contribute, that are the underlying factors to bring lasting security and stability. it's my view, and certainly you and others can disagree with that, but i don't think you can have the ability to extend good governance, to extend the
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opportunity for economic development, to extend the opportunity for good education systems if you have an extremist organization suppressing those opportunities in a particular society. so again, i'm not, i try to be pretty realistic about things, but i think that again, a military component is essential, but non-decisive. let me talk just a minute about china, as she raised the issue. china is in most places in africa. and they have i think chosen a different path than has the united states. the chinese invest very heavily in infrastructure. it's hard to not go to an african country and not see a chinese project, a road, and airport, ministry, government buildings, football stadiums.
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the chinese are very good at that, and they build those it's a. they build african union headquarters. they built -- i was in -- they built the national defense college for tanzania. so they do a lot of good work. they have chosen about the kind of interesting infrastructure. the united states has taken a bit of a different path, and our path has been we're going to invest in human capital. we're going to invest in the people of africa, not so much in the stuff of africa. i happen to think that's a pretty wise choice. and i will tell you once, a moment ago, a little bit of frustration, i was in a city and someone pointed out to me one of the people from the host nation said, see that football stadium? you know, the chinese build that force. how come the united states doesn't build stuff for us like that? and my probably impolitic response to that was, the fact
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that there are people whose health allows them to feel that stadium is thanks to the people of the united states of america. that was probably -- ambassador probably yell at me if i say that, but it points out a little bit different approach. militarily, we are absolutely not in an adversarial relationship at all with china, in africa. economic competitors, i think absolutely. i think that's a global situation between the united states and china. part of which plays out in africa. certainly not military adversaries. i meet often with defense attaches from china and others as i'm moving around in africa, and it's not a particularly close relationship but it surely isn't an adversarial
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relationship either, as we need -- we move through africa. so again, i think there's great interaction with the chinese across the continent. and one last point. with regard to how people since -- how people feel about africom. we actually spend a fair amount of effort trying to make sure that we understand that as best we can, and i would just characterize it this way. i have yet to go to an african country where a head of state or prime minister, or minister of foreign affairs or minister of defense or chief of defense or member of parliament has ever said to me general, thanks for coming, but we don't need to have any more interaction with you. that hasn't happened to me. admittedly there were a couple of places where i haven't gone, and places that come a couple of countries where there's not a
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great relationship with the united states writ large, not only with the military, but what i find in africa is, is appreciation, is an understanding of what we are trying, what we are trying to do because what we try to do is, first of all, supportive of our u.s. ambassador, and secondly, supportive of that african country. one of the beauties of being an american in africa is we don't have a colonial history. that helps us, frankly. and part of it is just we are who we are. with americans there aren't hidden agendas. that's not in our constitutional make a. we're just kind of, we are just kind of who we are, and with americans, it's what you see is what you get. i find that we've been welcomed some places more warmly than
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others, but it's a pretty good relationship. not without its warts and without it's faults, but it's a pretty good relationship. and my sense is, if you ask the african leaders, do you want africom, i think most of them come even those who have some questions would probably say on balance, yeah. speak i think we have time for one final question. and i will let the professor asked. >> i'm asking about one of your former -- is the african partnership, and it has done some good but i'm not certain if it is still going. we were part of this, funded through this program to look at maritime security, but not from, you know, it was more from a hazards perspective. and we had two workshops in west africa where we did some
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training of oceanographers and forecasters. students worked with us, but we developed some capacity for hazards in coastal areas. and those turn into real-time daily forecast for fishermen and others, and there was a lot of collaboration from those 19 different, i think 19 countries took part in that. is that program finished, or is it still going is what i'm interested in? >> [inaudible] >> 's been good, thanks professor. yes, the africa partnership remains an important part of our over all portfolio. again, with the rocks being the capabilities in this case